Woody Guthrie in Bethlehem

In the summer of 1948, Woody Guthrie and his wife, Marjorie Mazia, were hired to be the directors of Stone Crest Camp, in Bethlehem, New Hampshire.  In a letter addressed to “Dear Parents,” Marjorie wrote, “We are planning to make this summer camp season of 1948 a real treat for you, your children and for ourselves.  My husband, Woody Guthrie, is well known to the younger generation for his original American ballads, his guitar strumming, and his songs to grow on.  This summer he will work with the children in other creative capacities for which I know he will be loved and appreciated.”

In the letter, mailed from their Brooklyn home, Marjorie introduced herself as an experienced worker with children, “with particular emphasis on all creative arts.”

By Al Aumuller/New York World-Telegram and the Sun

Stonecrest was a resort catering to Jewish families, including Holocaust survivors, who lived most of the year in New York City and traveled north to the White Mountains in the summer for health and recreation.  It was run by Ida and Max Schwartz, who otherwise lived in Brooklyn.

Marjorie, a dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, was the daughter of Aliza Greenblat, a well-known Yiddish poet who lived near Woody in Brooklyn.  Woody, the Oklahoma native, was at home in “1940s Brooklyn, where Jewish culture was interwoven with music, modern dance, poetry and anti-fascist, pro-labor, socialist activism,” as a Wikipedia article put it. 

Woody’s leftwing identity was well-established and well known by 1948.  How that figured in the decision of Ida and Max Schwartz to hire him at Stonecrest is not something I’ve been able to determine. 

In any case, Woody, Marjorie, and their one-year-old son Arlo, arrived at Stonecrest on July 1, but within a few weeks they were gone.  According to the Woody Guthrie Archive, Woody left for a teaching job at Connecticut College.   What legacy, if any, did they leave?  Use the comments if you have any information.